Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains genuine answers to genuine (albeit sometimes not frequent) questions that we’ve been asked over the years. So please remember that there is no such thing as a silly question!
A bamboo bike is the cheapest and quickest way to obtain a frame custom designed and built to fit you and your requirements. Nothing else can come close. At Bamboo Bicycle Club we guide all our builders through the process from start to finish, designing the frame together with you, choosing and supplying components, and making sure you get the bike you always wanted.
Bamboo is an incredibly strong natural material. Some species are stronger than steel for their weight, and are used to build bridges! We’ve all seen pictures of bamboo scaffolding in the far east.
Academic research has been conducted at the Universities of Princeton, Zurich and Oxford Brookes among others, all accrediting bamboo as a fantastic material for bicycle building. The Bamboo Bicycle Club team have been researching and experimenting with bamboo frames for well over 4 years and we just can’t get enough of that smooth sensation!
There is no welding, heat treatment or heavy mechanics involved in building bamboo frames. Anyone can learn. Our workshops are designed for people of all abilities and ages. You’ll have as much help as you need from our enthusiastic team to build a bamboo bike that you can ride and enjoy for years.
Due to the custom nature of the bicycle that people build, weight can vary. However they are generally lighter than steel and aluminium and slightly heavier than carbon and titanium. It’s all down to your build.
Absolutely! Over the years we’ve built hundreds of bamboo bikes, they’ve travelled countless thousands of miles and endured untold punishment. We’ve had people ride across continents in some of the most extreme environments, racers competing on the road, mountain bikers bouncing down mountains and pro BMX riders giving it their best.
As long as the frame is sealed properly with a suitable lacquer a bamboo bike will last just as long as any other frame material. We have plenty of customers who have commuted daily on their bikes for years and thousands of miles with no problems. There is a bamboo bike in the National Bicycle Museum from 1889! However, if you don’t seal the frame properly or you treat it like a pair of old wellies, the lifespan may be considerably shorter…you put the work in, so love your work!
We stock bamboo species that are naturally resistant to degradation, and all our bamboo has gone through a heat treatment process to protect it from the effects of aging. If sealed, cared for and stored correctly, your frame will last for many years of smooth riding. We have also undertaken comprehensive analysis with Portsmouth University which have confirmed our experiences.
We wouldn’t recommend it. Give your hand built pride and joy the love it deserves and set aside a dry spot indoors for your beautiful bamboo bike!
Bamboo Bike Building Workshops
First of all, they’re a lot of fun! We want people to share our experience and promote the pleasure of building their own bamboo bicycle. Cycling is fantastic, and we want more bikes on the road! We are also sociable chaps and chapesses, and want to meet as many of our builders as possible. We don’t just build bikes, we’ve been building a community of bamboo bike enthusiasts, without even setting out to do that, which is great!
Why not?! The more the merrier! Just let us know in advance so the London workshop doesn’t get too crowded!
Or if you can make that one bike a tandem.
We don’t sell complete bikes – our philosophy is that there is nothing better than riding a bicycle you’ve built yourself.
However we do help all of our builders, workshop or build-at-home, through the entire process from choosing which frame to build all the way to fitting the last component. We want to see bamboo bikes out on the road, so we don’t leave any of our builders in the lurch.
We use a hemp webbing for joining up your frame, which is wrapped around the joints and soaked with an epoxy resin. Throughout all our experimentation, this proved to be the simplest and most effective method of bonding. It can be easily applied and if desired finished to a very high standard
No. We only offer the workshops to people who want to build a bicycle for themselves. It is not intended for the project to offer a platform for individual commercial enterprise. If you want to learn to help others build their own bikes at a local Bamboo Bicycle Club, or you want to start your own Bamboo Bicycle Club franchise, get in touch.
All our workshop builds are custom designed for you. Our home build kits come in standard sizes, but can be designed to a custom geometry for a small fee. Once you have signed up for a bike build workshop or purchase a home build kit, send us all your measurements and we’ll begin the process of designing your custom bamboo bike. If you have a frame you already love, but would prefer it to be made of bamboo, then we can use existing frame measurements. For more info on bike frame design get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshop: £588.00 which includes all the materials and tools you need to complete a frame. Check out our build a bicycle page or email us for more info! email@example.com Alternatively, we offer home build kits which start at £260.00. The cost does not include bicycle components (wheels handlebars etc.). New or used components can be used, or a donor bike. For new components, cost generally start at £150.00 for a singlespeed.
Home Build Bamboo Bike Kits
We ship our Bamboo Bike Kits all over the world, for free!
The jig is key to making sure that the frame is aligned. Our home build jig is based around our workshop jigs, but simpler. Our jig is designed to be rigid and keep the design 100% accurate, essential for when you’re fitting parts. We’re constantly developing our jig and in July 2017 we released our v2 upright jig, our most accurate, easy to use jig yet.
We ship all the bamboo with a minimum length of 700mm, allowing you customize the positioning based on our guidelines. It also gives you a more hands on approach to the build; following our simple guide you can create a perfect join.
For a complete bike frame, with components fitted (wheels, etc.), it will take around 3 days or 6 evenings.
When we started building bamboo bikes, the beauty of the concept was that we were able to build our bikes based on any crazy ideas in our heads. We still hold this philosophy 5 years later. We’ve helped people build every frame style, if you’ve got a crazy concept we’re interested!
In our experience very few people struggle. Our manual is in depth and is based on having taught 100s of first time frame builders at our London workshop. But if you do have any trouble you don’t have to worry, we offer full support via e-mail, telephone and Skype. The answers you seek are only a phone call away! You’re also welcome to visit us at our East London workshop, where we’ll be happy to show you the way.
We can supply all components and help you choose based on your requirements. Or if you have a donor bike you can supply your own components.
Once you’ve built your frame fitting up is the easy part! We have a curated range of YouTube videos, which offer a lot of help. (Why not subscribe to our Channel!) Otherwise most local bike shops should be able to lend a hand.
‘Wheely Funny’ Questions!
You might do – but that surely would be the least of your worries!? 😉
…Really!? Maybe avoid cycling over hot coals on your bamboo bike?
In our experience, no. Always remove any trace of your lunch dropped on your bike to remove those troublesome, enticing foody smells?
In areas where standard bicycle parts need to be fitted we use metal inserts very similar to a carbon frame. We use a UK based company called Reynolds which supplies; Cromoly, Aluminum and Titanium tubing depending on the specification. We take care in preparing all metals for bonding as delamination can occur without proper care.
We us a BioFibre that provides high levels of performance, coupled with the ease of processing normally associated with glass-reinforced materials. The materials use twistless technology to provide a combination of sustainability, performance and processability. Compared to man made fibers, BioFibre offers reduced weight, improved environmental impact, vibration damping, similar specific stiffness and safer handling. It is excellent for beginners as well as experience users to handle and application is simple yet very effective.
Some technical info – if you’re into numbers or if you you’re not – bamboo has very similar properties to fiberglass (used often in boat construction)
Typical mechanical properties of moulded laminates
Fibre Volume Fraction
All our bamboo is sourced in the UK from an importer. The bamboo is from a variety of locations around the world. We generally use Moso or Tonkin two of the most common bamboo species for bike building. Both have excellent strength properties and good environmental performance.
All our bamboo is treated at source. We hand select each piece of bamboo using all our experience gained over the years selecting the bamboo at the correct maturity and consistency. We hold bamboo in stock for a period of 4 months before using it so that it naturally climitizes. During extensive research neither blow torching or heat treatment are effective treatment methods as they result in compromised strength. We recommend coating bamboo with a protective coating which prevents moisture movement and seals the frame against the elements.
Similar to carbon and other composite based frame materials we use a glue to bind everything together. Our plant based bio resin has a 50% reduction in carbon emissions compared to regular products. It has excellent performance in both tension and compression and is well suited for bicycles. We use a fast curing resin with an average pot life time of roughly 30 minutes at room temperature. It will be dry to touch within 3/4 hours and will have gained strength and be workable within 24hrs. It is excellent in all environments and has good UV stability.
Do contact us if you have any further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org